The Basketball Podcast: EP262 with Jamie Smith on Athletic Development

RELEASE DATE : 05/04/2023

In this week’s coaching conversation, founder and head sport preparation coach of The U of Strength Jamie Smith joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on athletic and human development approaches.

Jamie Smith is passionate about guiding his athletes through their developmental process and discovering unique ways that blend physical preparation and skill adaptation. As a former college basketball player at Merrimack College, he graduated with a degree in Sports Medicine and a concentration in Exercise Physiology. He has had the opportunity to coach under some of the most knowledgeable and experienced coaches in the industry.

Jamie Smith has coached a variety of athletes from novice to elite skill levels, some of which include current NHL, NBA, and MLS players and the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion UConn Huskies. Through adaptive, creative and experienced based program design, Jamie assists his athletes in reaching their full potential on and off the ice, court, and field.

Learn more from Jamie Smith and about his Basketball Athletic Development with Jamie Smith

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Jamie Smith Quotes:

“I wanted to create this intimate setting where my 100% attention was on sport performance, motor learning, and really teaching these kids how to learn, how to adapt to some of these skills and develop some of these qualities and learn some of these processes.”

“It’s so common for me to have a conversation with a parent and how they label their 12 year old son is a basketball player. Or how they label their 14 year old daughter is a lacrosse player.”

“What I am saying is that we are missing an important piece in the developmental process.”

“It might be with game play. It might be with some of my agility stuff. It might be with, you know, how I approach my pre-training or the warmup. I’m trying to fill in gaps that I feel are missing in this modern day, you know, kind of athletic world.”

“I’m not saying that’s wrong. I’m just saying for me and what I wanted to do and how I wanted to impact my small community, I wanted to create this intimate setting where my 100% attention was on sport performance.”

“Instead of trying to grow the U of Strength in the sense that like most of these sport performance gyms, when you work with the youth, the business model is in the mornings, you do personal training. In the evenings, afternoons and evenings, you train the kids and in between you do personal training.”

“It’s all competition, right? It’s all trying to play for the best team. It’s all trying wins and losses. And I’m again, I’m not saying it’s not, that’s not important, but what I am saying is that we are missing an important piece in the developmental process.”

“Make them their own coach. Make them kind of the main driver so that when they’re not with me, if they’re lucky enough to play at the college level or play at the professional level, they know exactly they know what works. They know how their body feels, responds to different things.”

“We need to make sure we’re trying to find all the other pieces and appreciate that everything, like I said, everything is connected, and you can’t have one and not have the other.”

“The big thing is not being stuck. That’s one thing that was just very common. Especially, again, I’m going to keep relating back to strength and conditioning, where it’s like, all right, everything’s on the whiteboard. Or we printed out all these perfect pamphlets, and all these kids have these perfect programs that are pre planned, 1216 weeks out. And it’s like, okay, but things need to be adaptable. They need to be dynamic, they need to be agile, and you can’t be afraid to make that change.”

‘I wanted to say the least amount possible. Obviously, I’m not putting a kid in harm’s way. But with some of these movements and a lot of times with these younger athletes, a lot of these kind of body weight in very low resistance, very low level motor patterns, I just let the tool whether it was a dumbbell or whether it was a med ball or whether how I positioned their foot or how I positioned their stance or their hands, whatever it may be, I allowed that to guide them and just see.’

“Look at it now as a movement problem, or look at this as a learning opportunity, or look at this as a movement challenge.”

Jamie Smith Breakdown:

1:00 – The U of Strength
6:00 – Human Performance
10:00 – Athletic Development Field
19:00 – Enjoyment Factor
24:00 – Traditional Approach to Coaching
31:00 – Dynamic Warm Up
38:00 – Ecological Approach
42:00 – Basketball Immersion ADS
44:00 – Common Constraint Manipulation
54:00 – Creating Space
59:30 – Need for Specificity
1:02:30 – Game of Bursts
1:06:00 – Conclusion

Jamie Smith Links from the Podcast:

Jamie Smith

Kemba Walker

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